4 stages to navigating digital transformation in healthcare

Marketing and customer expectations are changing fast. And the digital landscape is complex and constantly evolving.

As healthcare companies - pharmaceutical and medical device - focus on creating meaningful and actionable customer experiences, they’re embracing the digital transformation journey in a staged approach.

At the Digital Medical Device conference where I spoke at in May, we explored a four-stage “crawl, walk, run, fly” approach in detail:

Stage #1: Crawl

In this beginning (or roadmap) stage, an audit of assets, readiness and data is essential. The audit fuels the customer experience by shedding light on four key areas:

  1. What information about the healthcare providers, data, models and analyses do you have to support and fuel transformation?
  2. What are the gaps? Do you need healthcare provider (HCP) qualitative research, search insights and more?
  3. What content, across channels, do you already have that addresses these providers’ needs?
  4. And most important, what business goals does all this need to address?

With the combination of data profiling and segmentation, the audit/assessment phase informs healthcare marketers about what the ideal customer experience for each segment should look like.

Stage #2: Walk

Developing your content strategy and message maps is the next step in this journey.

Often our healthcare clients share the challenges of coming up with individual or unique content for each HCP. We recommend creating a digital content library (some marketers refer to them as content hubs) where you have multiple content modules to select from that can be combined and recombined in different ways for different scenarios or different audiences.  

Also in this stage, you need to plan for the cadence of your communications and decide how you’re going to measure the success of your programme.

I like to think of measurement as an evolving journey with multiple levels. It begins with response and KPI definition and measurement at a tactical level and advances to cross-channel attribution, event streams and predictive modeling.

Stage #3: Run

Get customer experience design and personalisation ready.

Here is where the fun really begins as you start to integrate your learnings to truly understand your customers. Designing a customer experience map tracks the customer throughout the journey and across the lifecycle, reflecting activity at each stage.

Let’s put it into perspective. Draft several important customer-centric scenarios/use cases that are central to your strategy. Look at the gaps in data and technology that must be filled to enable execution on them.

First find the highest “bang for the buck” projects to tackle, to enable marketing automation with appropriate data support. For example, a healthcare company we work with needed to create a great customer experience for the doctors who might be candidates to prescribe a new innovative device, and for the patients in their practices who might be receptive to saying “yes” to the new approach. This included ensuring the hurdles in the specialty pharmacy processes were addressed digitally for HCPs and their office staff.

As a result, we mapped out the entire prescriber and customer experiences and all important touchpoints along those journeys, then layered in what communications would have to take place (such as around coverage or delivery timing), including payer and specialty pharmacy communications.

On that foundation, we layered in the data that was needed to enable personalisation at the touchpoints and the technology for housing the data to deliver the experience across channels.  

Throughout the process, the key guiding principle was creating concierge service for doctors, office staff and patients by designing an experience model.  

With this underway, we’re getting ready to cross the finish line to a whole new capability – fly.

Stage #4: Fly

When I talk about ‘fly’ as being stage four, it’s about soaring and reaching your highest marketing potential within the digital transformation. It’s finding the right combination of strategy and technology that allows marketers to connect with their customers on a 1:You level creating personalised experiences.

As some of our healthcare clients have shared with us, it’s ‘the next big thing’ that’s forthcoming for modern marketers, that is 1:You communications (and personalised experiences).

At Epsilon, we’re always thinking ahead and are prepared for the future of marketing. Marketers can take their programmes to the next level with our continuous development of new strategies such as using third-party data to round out profiles of HCPs interests and preferences to take segmentation far beyond deciles and inform communications.

Additionally, our Rx impact and engagement analyses products and predictive and promotion mix models, which are all supported by our analytic scientists help our clients to achieve 1:You. Further, our advanced technology applications, like machine learning and artificial intelligence, help to enable these strategies.

Embrace what lies ahead and don’t forget to prepare your internal organisation for the journey. The alignment of your marketing and sales organisation is essential for success. Don’t forget to involve med-legal early and often in innovative projects.

You are ready to transform. Continue to articulate the strategy and vision, put the customer experience at the center, don’t underestimate the need to actively manage change and remember, your work plan is forever changing.